Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre empty ... but for how long?
Well, it is another dismal summer for the one of the best outdoor music venues in the state.
Yes, we’re talking about the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre. Lauded for its architecture, sound and setting, the amphitheater appeared to be off to a solid start when it opened in 2003. Though the $7.1 million amphitheater was primarily built with state tax dollars, the county also contributed more than $1 million toward its construction.
But, it has run into a series of challenges the last decade including being run by two different management companies and facing a rough economy.
Critics also point to the location of the venue. If the same venue was in east Cobb, it would be packed for every performance, at least one observer has noted.
While it still has a handful of events planned for the summer, it is a far cry from when the 2,400-seat venue was playing host to 15 or so concerts a summer.
But there might be hope. Chatter has heard of a few groups that are eyeing presenting a concert or series. Concert promoters can rent the facility for a flat rate plus 10 percent of the event's revenues up to $7,000 or $3,200 per day, whichever is greater, in addition to other fees and rentals.
We are hoping for the best. As we said earlier, it is a prime facility. Though dust might be the only presence on the stage now, the venue has hosted big name acts in the past including B.B. King, the B-52’s, Smokey Robinson and Cobb’s own Travis Tritt.
Cobb residents earn honor from political publication
Cobb has a long and storied history of producing powerful movers and shakers in the political arena. To mention them all would take an entire CBJ issue.
However, we want to note those who have been recently lauded.
The political magazine “James” named east Cobb resident and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens “Georgian of the Year.”
And Olens, whose past record includes serving as chair of the board of commissioners, is not alone. A number of other people with Cobb connections made the “Most Influential” list, including: Home Depot Chairman/CEO Frank Blake; Georgia GOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart; U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia); Kennesaw State University President Dr. Dan Papp; Post Properties
President/CEO Dave Stockert; Post Properties founder John Williams; and Marietta Daily Journal syndicated columnist Dick Yarbrough, who is described by James as having “become a sort of Mark Twain of Georgia.”
Speaking of Yarbrough, we want to give him a pat on the back. The columnist and former public relations guru recently made a pledge of $1.57 million to the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism.
From the banking world...
James H. ‘Jim’ Powell, CEO and Chairman of Highland Commercial Bank, attended the inaugural meeting of the Southeastern Bank Chairman’s Summit. Organized by the Community Bankers Association of Georgia, the Chairman’s Summit is designed to bring together community bankers from Georgia and other southeastern states to share common concerns and seek solutions in an open collegial environment. Powell is past-Chairman (2003-2004) of the Community Bankers Association of Georgia headquartered in Cobb County at 1900 The Exchange in the North by Northwest Business Park.
Does Alton Brown’s presence equal success?
Marietta Square’s newest restaurant The Butcher The Baker is off to a roaring start. New owners Katie and Micah Pfister and Sterling Wharton conducted a private opening April 16. If the guests who attended are any gauge of success, the restaurant should be successful. Guests included TV Food superstar Alton Brown with his wife, Deanna, attorney Mazi Mazloom and Marietta Mayor Thunder Tumlin.
The Pfisters’ resumes include experience at Bacchanalia, Empire State South, and Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta.
Did they really say Major League Lacrosse?
As you might have read in this issue, Major League Lacrosse is playing a game in Cobb this month.
Come June 7, the MLL will play a regular-season game between the Boston Cannons and the Rochester Rattlers at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on the KSU campus.
The contest will be the first professional lacrosse game played in Georgia, and if there is a good crowd with positive feedback, MLL commissioner David Gross has told news outlets that the stadium would become home to a new franchise — possibly beginning play as early as 2014.
Gross has been open about wanting to expand MLL, which plays a 14-game schedule from April to August, to eventually reach as many as 16 teams by the end of the decade. He said Atlanta has been on the radar for expansion for a long time, but they could never come up with a proper venue until Fifth Third Bank Stadium became available.
The 8,300-seat stadium is a perfect-sized venue for MLL based on the attendance numbers of the current eight franchises — Boston, Charlotte, Chesapeake (Md.), Denver, Hamilton (Ontario), New York, Columbus (Ohio) and Rochester (N.Y.). In 2012, the league averaged 5,608 fans per game.
It has been interesting to watch the popularity of lacrosse surge the last decade, particularly in the north Atlanta suburbs. Once considered a niche sport, it is beginning to gain steady traction on the high school and college level.
Only time will tell if it will grow or stay on the proverbial outside as soccer.